Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 06 Hansard (Tuesday, 21 June 2011) . . Page.. 2074 ..
Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.
Sitting suspended from 12.29 to 2 pm.
Statement by Speaker
MR SPEAKER: Members, before we commence question time, this morning during a debate the Deputy Speaker undertook to review the Hansard tape to establish whether words allegedly spoken by Mr Corbell were unparliamentary. During the lunch break officers of the Secretariat have listened to the tape and Mr Corbell can be heard stating, “I don’t like liars, Mr Hanson.” In this context, obviously, standing orders 54 and 55 are relevant regarding offensive words and personal reflections. Standing order 56 also provides that whenever the attention of the Speaker is drawn to words used, the Speaker shall determine whether they are offensive or disorderly. I consider that in the context in which the words were spoken, they were disorderly, and I ask Mr Corbell to withdraw them.
Mr Corbell: I am always happy to withdraw, Mr Speaker.
Questions without notice
MR SESELJA: My question is to the Chief Minister. In yesterday’s Canberra Times you are reported as “pledging a new era of government accountability”. On 11 August 2004, while you were education minister, you promised that “The government will not be closing schools”. Six weeks after the election, you started the process for school closures, leading to the eventual closure of 23 schools and the gutting of several communities who had taken you at your word. How can the public believe any of your pledge now of open and accountable government when you promised no school closures in 2004?
MS GALLAGHER: This matter has been dealt with extensively by this Assembly, and indeed I have been judged accordingly by the community when I faced the 2008 election. The results of that election, and indeed those comments, were prior to the 2004 election, from memory, and it was around—the government did not have any plans to close schools at that point in time. All of that information was correct. The minute we made some decisions around the future at the time of Ginninderra district high school, we were very up front with the community about the issues and the challenges that that school faced. Indeed, I stand by those decisions and the decisions the government has taken since that time to reform our public education system and to make it sustainable into the future.
Mr Seselja, I have been judged by the community. The response I get from the community is that they do have faith in this government and our capacity to lead and tackle the very significant challenges facing this community. As Chief Minister, I do intend to introduce changes to improve our information sharing with the community